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Discounting options

Learning intention

For students to be able to make likely predictions when they read a text.

Explain

to students that there are ways to make predictions when there are a range of apparent possible outcomes suggested by a text. They need to learn how to read carefully to discount options that may link to some of the ideas in the text, but are clearly ruled out by other information in the text. They may also need to weigh the evidence and justify the most likely option from several plausible possibilities.

Show

Marty the mouse liked to think of himself as brave and strong.

'Far too adventurous,' his mother said.

Marty was currently outside the safety of his mouse hole. He had climbed up a leg of the dining room table and was feasting on delicious cake crumbs left scattered all over the table cloth.

'Far too dangerous,' his mother would have said.

Suddenly, the door opened a crack and in slid Juniper the sleek, black family cat. Juniper was smart and Juniper hated mice. Juniper lay down on the floor. She knew she was blocking the mouse hole. She sniffed about. There was a mouse in the room.

Read

the text with the students.

Ask

students in small groups to brainstorm as many predictions about what might happen next as they can conceive.

Encourage

them to be creative.

Record

the predictions on separate pieces of paper or card.

Create

a wall chart with three headings: likely, unlikely and impossible.

Ask

students to place their predictions under the headings.

Ask

students to justify their classifications as they are making them. They will need to refer to the evidence in the text and to their own understanding of this kind of situation.

Ask

students to work in their groups to order the predictions from the most likely to the least likely.

Ask

students to justify the order they propose.

Ask

students to select their favourite prediction from any of the headings and to modify the text to provide evidence to support this prediction. They need to alter the text to include evidence to that would make their favourite prediction the most likely outcome. It should still be a prediction, not something that has happened in the text.

Share

students' responses.

Discuss

whether they have achieved their objective of making their prediction the most likely prediction.

Extension

 

Ask

students to each write the first paragraph of a short story that gives some indication of where the story might lead to.

Ask

students to work in pairs. Students swap texts and complete each other's story.

Share

and discuss results.

Ask:

Did the story go in the direction the author originally intended?